Slimming World has served me very well. I will heartily recommend SW to anyone who hasn't tried it before, if they are serious about losing weight and keeping it off.
It's been challenging, and keeping to the weight-loss plan has required enhanced self-discipline; but there have been plenty of great moments as part of the reward. It's definitely been friendly, welcoming, and sociable. And - particularly when on holiday in some distant place - it's been a chance to meet local men and women, and for an hour or two feel part of the local scene. You might almost say that, when I'm away caravanning, SW has provided a social focus for each week - which can only be a good thing, when you holiday alone.
Ah, those great moments...the certificates, as weight milestones have been passed; the chance to be Slimmer of the Week; and several other accolades. And when I was voted Slimming World Woman of the Year 2017 last August it was one of the proudest moments I've ever had.
Here are the figures. I lost 15kg - that's 35 pounds, or two and half stones - in the eleven months from the start of November 2016 up to the middle of October 2017. My BMI went down to less than 26, when it had been over 31. And although my clothes size stayed at 16, I went from a tight 16 to a loose 16, and I definitely looked thinner. Everybody said so; and my photos bear that out as well.
All this is an achievement to be proud of. The trouble is that in the last six months I have not been able to lose any more weight, even though I have kept rigorously to plan, and not relaxed my efforts in any way.
I have been hovering around 80kg (or twelve and a half stones). I reckon I have achieved a balance, 80kg representing the natural weight appropriate for my body size, age, current physical condition and level of activity, and of course my particular SW-compliant food and drink intake.
There is more I could do to lose more weight, but it would mean a big step change - perhaps curtailing my social life, and giving up alcohol altogether; or introducing a significantly higher level of aerobic activity into my everyday lifestyle. Well, not yet! But unless I make some drastic change of the sort just mentioned, and keep it up forever, I don't think I am going to reduce my weight any further.
And I'm not sure I want to go very much further in any case. A little residual plumpness here and there can be no bad thing where looks (and attractiveness) are concerned. I think I'm on the brink of losing just a bit too much of it. I certainly don't want to lose so much weight that I begin to look unfeminine, or even slightly gaunt.
It currently costs almost £5 a week to attend SW, and that is beginning to feel like money being spent to no purpose. It's time to stop the show. I have three weeks left of a twelve-week batch I paid for in advance. Those three weeks will take me up to the end of March. I'll see what I can do with them, but I really expect a no gain/no loss outcome. I very much doubt whether I'll be able to lose the ten pounds needed to achieve my official weight-loss target. And it's no good starving myself to get there, because I can't possibly keep that up: once I begin to eat normally again, I would revert to my current weight, which is just under 80kg.
So it's shortly going to be farewell to Slimming World.
I don't want to make a dramatic exit. I'd rather leave very quietly. Next week's SW weigh-in is local, but the two after that - the last two I've paid for - are in Devon, while I'm on holiday. I'd like to attend those. But thereafter I might well not attend any more, locally or otherwise. That way I won't have to cope with attempts to persuade me to stay. I'm quite a softy when people say they will miss me, or declare that I have inspired them and they need me there.
After the break, what then?
Well, I absolutely don't want to throw away what I've done, and go back to my former hefty state. So I will carry on:
# applying SW principles when eating at home or elsewhere (which has become my ingrained habit);
# applying SW principles in respect of what I drink in social situations (I never drink by myself);
# weighing myself weekly at home (as I have done continuously since 2008);
# photographing most meals (especially the ones I cook at home).
But I'm dropping the record-keeping. No more spreadsheets to record in detail what I eat and drink daily. I will however keep past spreadsheets as a knowledge resource, something to follow.
So there you are. The decision is taken. Three weeks to go, then my Thursday evenings will be available for something else. More blogging, perhaps?